Biggs Institute joins NIH network studying post-stroke dementia

Brain, stroke

UT Health San Antonio is part of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) stroke research network announced Feb. 19 at the International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles. Sudha Seshadri, M.D., professor of neurology and founding director of the Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases, is serving on the Steering Committee as co-leader of the Genetics and Genomics Core.

The Determinants of Incident Stroke Cognitive Outcomes and Vascular Effects on Recovery (DISCOVERY) Network will examine why 30% of stroke patients go on to develop dementia.

“There is a growing awareness of the connection between vascular health and brain health,” Dr. Seshadri said. “The brain requires a continuous supply of blood to provide the energy it needs to carry out a myriad of functions. A stroke injures this blood supply, which may set more harmful events in motion. This study will reveal more about what causes post-stroke vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia.”

DISCOVERY, supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the National Institute on Aging of NIH, will enroll 8,000 patients with an emphasis on recruiting a diverse population in the U.S., including two health disparities populations, African Americans and Hispanics. These groups experience a higher number of strokes and stroke death.

The Glenn Biggs Institute, established in 2017 as part of the Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio, is becoming a major Hispanic recruitment center for clinical trials of prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s/dementia. The Biggs Institute is one of 30 clinical sites in the DISCOVERY network.

Patients will be followed for two or more years and undergo cognitive assessments, brain imaging, genetic analyses and fluid biomarker testing.

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The Long School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is named for Texas philanthropists Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long. The school is the largest educator of physicians in South Texas, many of whom remain in San Antonio and the region to practice medicine. The school teaches more than 900 students and trains 800 residents each year. As a beacon of multicultural sensitivity, the school annually exceeds the national medical school average of Hispanic students enrolled. The school’s clinical practice is the largest multidisciplinary medical group in South Texas with 850 physicians in more than 100 specialties. The school has a highly productive research enterprise where world leaders in Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, cancer, aging, heart disease, kidney disease and many other fields are translating molecular discoveries into new therapies. The Long School of Medicine is home to a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center known for prolific clinical trials and drug development programs, as well as a world-renowned center for aging and related diseases.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, dba UT Health San Antonio, is one of the country’s leading health sciences universities and is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. With missions of teaching, research, patient care and community engagement, its schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have graduated more than 37,000 alumni who are leading change, advancing their fields, and renewing hope for patients and their families throughout South Texas and the world. To learn about the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit

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